Analysis: Westbrook, Harden will need to change their games

AP
Published 1:53 p.m. ET July 12, 2019 | Updated 2:22 p.m. ET July 12, 2019

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Everyone knows that Russell Westbrook and James Harden played together before, which automatically makes their reunion in Houston seem like the right fit.

It won’t be that easy.

They’ve both changed since those days.

But here they are, together again after the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to trade Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and another load of draft picks that Sam Presti is collecting in the same way that sneakerheads hoard vintage pairs of Jordans. On the surface, it’s a shiny move for Houston — two of the last three NBA MVPs, the two guys with the most points over the last five seasons, in the same backcourt.

Per NBA rules, there will only be one ball in play, however.

The term they use is “ball dominant,” a fancy way of saying certain players need the ball in their hands more than others. Westbrook and Harden are two of those guys. Harden held the ball for nearly 6½ seconds — a league high — and took nearly six dribbles, on average, every time he touched it last season. Westbrook typically held the ball for 5.1 seconds, taking nearly five…

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